Suspicious activity is on the rise in Riverdale, with Archie lurking around and looking for trouble. The Black Hood has morphed every town member into a sobered person, innocence replaced with fear and anger. Whatever happens, is not going to stop soon.
With Jughead narrating over his actions, he checks out multiple books on serial killers to research what the Black Hood might do next. The town is paranoid, a common theme in this episode.
The Lodges don’t want Veronica to date Archie anymore due to his recent actions in forming the Red Circle. Back at the Andrews abode, Fred confronts Archie about the video he posted. The Southside Serpents want to target Archie because he is antagonizing the Southside, but attacking him would only confirm his suspicions that the Serpents are dangerous and have something to hide.
When Archie and Veronica see each other again, they talk about the video of him with the Red Circle. His actions cause him to get booted from the football team by the Bee and get rejected by his football-playing peers. Betty receives a letter at the Blue and Gold from the Black Hood, writing that he’s doing his killings for her. Betty freaks out, understandably, and converses with Kevin on what to do with the letter and cipher that came with it. Her mom, Alice, sends the cipher to Sheriff Keller to analyze it.
Dilton becomes Archie’s adviser on how to hunt the Black Hood, giving him a list of items to obtain in order to bring his dad and other victims justice. Meanwhile, Veronica talks to Hiram about his conversation with Archie, asking in a roundabout way if he manipulated Archie into forming the Red Circle. Jughead and a new character presumed to be Toni Topaz get acquainted and try to solve the Black Hood’s cipher, which Alice posted in the newspaper.
Archie goes to a weapons shop to buy stuff from Dilton’s grocery list of artillery. Betty contacts Jughead about solving the cipher with him because she can’t do it alone, but he tells her he’s already working with someone. Veronica buys custom Red Circle shirts for the whole school because she’s rich and wants Archie to know that he’s not fighting alone. After school, Betty, Kevin, Jughead, and Toni meet up to crack the cipher together but end up getting into an argument. Toni and Kevin leave, and Jughead and Betty fall asleep together.
Archie tags Southside walls with the red circle motif in hopes of smoking out the Black Hood. A group of Serpents confronts him while he paints, and he pulls a gun on them. Back at school, Sheriff Keller and the Bee call Archie out of class to discuss last night’s events. They search his locker and find Reggie’s black mask, but nothing incriminating. Fred turns against Archie’s decisions of fighting violence with violence.
Veronica and her mother talk about what Archie’s choices could lead to in the future at the Lodge mansion. Betty and Jughead discuss the Black Hood’s letter to try and look for clues on how to solve his cipher. Archie calls Veronica to ask her if she could retrieve his gun from school. She obliges and fishes it out of the tank of a toilet. When she gets to Archie’s, she claims that she threw it in Sweetwater River. The Serpents show up at Archie’s house to threaten him on his home turf.
“I will strike next where it all began.”
Betty and Jughead go to the library to check out one of Betty’s childhood favorites in order to solve the cipher. During this, Alice causes a ruckus at the town hall meeting, suggesting a town curfew to make it harder for murders to occur. Betty and Jughead crack the code, and it reads, “I will strike next where it all began.” The Bulldogs and the Serpents face off in a fight while Jughead and Betty bring the solved cipher to the town hall meeting. Betty then reveals the note the Black Hood wrote her to her mom and Sheriff Keller. In order to stop the fight, Veronica fires Archie’s gun into the air, causing everyone to scatter. She brings Archie to his room to heal his wounds. After this, they go to the bridge over Sweetwater River and throw the loaded gun in it. The episode ends with Betty receiving a call from the Black Hood.